Archive for September, 2010

Sunday, September 26th, 2010 | Uncategorized

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Have you had any surprises lately?

During his naval career one of our Military Ministry staff members served under an admiral who continually reminded his staff, “There is no such thing as a good surprise!”

In this movement, however, we need to hope “surprises” are in the equation. There are good surprises. At first some look less positive than others. But God sends them all our way along with His promise to work them together for our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

On Tuesday, October 5th, we will meet as a movement in our Worldwide Day of Prayer (WDOP). “Shaping Our Future Together Through Prayer” is our special theme for this WDOP. I encourage you to pray for our time together. Ask the Lord to prepare our hearts for whatever “surprises” He is pleased to do that day. Consider passages like:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:6,8 (NIV)

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)

If we love God and are called according to His purpose, we will experience His marvelous ways and blessings. I trust that will be our experience, not only during the WDOP, but in the months and years that follow.

Judy and I are looking forward to a day of praying and praising our wonderful God together with you.


P.S. Current prayer points will be posted as they become available, at Throughout the year your team can submit updates by e-mailing

In Pursuit of Greater Fruitfulness

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 | Uncategorized

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In the fall of 1982, during a personal planning time, I concluded that my effectiveness in doing evangelism was not great. Here I was, a leader in an organization known for evangelism, and not that good at one of our areas of specialty. So I prayed that God would help me be more effective. Only He could make that happen well.

A few weeks later, some students from the International School of Theology (then located at Arrowhead Springs) asked if I would do an evangelistic talk at one of their homes. They wanted to promote it as a seminar on time management and personal development to some of their non-Christian acquaintances. Since I taught that class at the school they approached me to teach the seminar and share the gospel.

Well, I had never heard of anyone combining time management and the gospel, but since I had prayed for God’s help, I assumed this was part of His answer and said yes.

I continued to pray during my preparation. The night came. The ISOT students brought nine non-Christians. I did the seminar, my testimony and the Four Laws and had a pray-with-me and comment cards. Five of the non-Christians indicated decisions for Christ!

Clearly God was working! I was the same person from a few months before who wasn’t that effective in evangelism. But God intervened.

In subsequent years I used the principles learned from that experience to do similar presentations on college campuses. The topic was different: How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun. But the principles were the same.

God was gracious to allow me to give that seminar over 300 times. And many thousands of college students have indicated decisions for Christ–because God used my prayer and full dependence on Him in an area where I was weak.

It sounds a little like John 15, doesn’t it? In verse 5 Jesus says, “If a man remains in Me and I remain in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” He goes on in verse 7 to say, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Fruitfulness requires total dependence on God, and it will normally involve our praying and asking.

Why do you suppose prayer is so integrally linked to dependence on God?

1. It illustrates our dependence.

Some recent experiences made this even clearer to me. Two of my grandsons, Carter and Aidan, are old enough to speak. When they are thirsty they ask the nearest adult to give them something in their spill-proof cup.

Why? Because they can’t get the heavy bottle of juice out of the refrigerator and pour it in their cup. They know they need help, and they illustrate that by asking.

So it is in our relationship with God. There are things we know we can’t do by ourselves. And it illustrates our dependence on God when we ask Him for help.

2. Prayer builds our relationship with God and, therefore, our willingness to trust Him.

Again, in human relationships this is obvious. When Judy and I were dating, we spent time together. Many conversations built up trust and led to marriage. Over the last 35 years our ongoing talking together has only enhanced that willingness to trust and depend on one another.

So it is with our relationship with God. Praying is talking with God. The more we do that, the stronger our relationship becomes and the greater our willingness to depend on Him grows.

In summary, prayer and extreme dependence on God are closely linked. No one illustrates it better than King David. He has left us many records of his prayers in the Psalms. One example is Psalm 3:1-4, “O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill.”

My hope for you and me is that we manifest that kind of total trust in God.